Friday, May 25, 2012

Second Screen Entertainment

52 inch TV, 10 inch tablet

Do you have a "second screen" with you when you watch television? A laptop or perhaps an iPad? Maybe a smartphone?

Lots of people do. For some, it may be that they hate to be away from Twitter for more than a few minutes, but for some it's about enhancing the TV experience. Perhaps you want to check IMDB to see who that actress is and what else she's acted in lately. Maybe you check scores and stats on while you watch the game. And that's just the beginning.

For the consumer, specialized apps on a tablet or a smartphone can expand the viewing experience, providing interactive features. Watch your favorite series while using the companion app on your iPad to learn more about a character or see extra scenes. Hear director commentary. Vote for the best dancer on Dancing with the Stars or your favorite singer on American Idol. Guess how much grandma's furniture is worth on Antique Road Show before the expert weighs in. For the television network, it's a chance to get instant feedback and a closer relationship with the viewing audience. Ultimately, that translates to more viewer engagement and loyalty, and better sales and marketing opportunities. More revenue.

While it may be possible to do some of these things by using the TV interface directly (with an Internet-ready TV or a set top box involved), that approach hasn't gained much traction. The approach that has is the simpler "second screen" approach.

Many are wondering whether Apple might change all that with a set of fresh ideas to make the television experience interactive in an elegant, integrated way. But users have already found an approach that works. Watch television along with a device that's already in their hand.

Are you a second screen viewer? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know.


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